EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 25/06/2020

File:President Trump Meets with President Duda of Poland ...

Financial Times – James Shotter / Poland’s president Duda ignites culture wars in re-election bid

  • Andrzej Duda began his speech in Brzeg, a small town in southwestern Poland, with a historical anecdote that led him to what he described as a worse modern-day threat to the country: LGBT “ideology”.
  • Polls suggest that he will win the first round of the voting with around 42 per cent of the vote on Sunday, or 10 points more than his nearest rival, the liberal opposition mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski.
  • But this margin would evaporate in a run-off, held on July 12 if no one wins more than 50 per cent in the first round. The stakes are high. Analysts say that the deep polarisation of Polish society means the race is likely to go down to the wire.
  • Were Mr Duda to lose, the opposition, armed with the presidency’s veto powers, would be able to provide a check on the ruling party and its measures — including a bitterly contested judicial reform — that have set Warsaw at odds with Brussels.
  • Politico – Caitlin Oprysko and Zosia Wanat / Trump says he will ‘probably’ reassign troops from Germany to Poland

Foreign Policy – Edward P. Joseph / Anatomy of a Kosovo summit catastrophe

  • In March of this year, the Trump administration successfully engineered the collapse of a friendly government in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. Rather than a covert CIA operation, the administration and the U.S. Embassy mounted overt pressure. 
  • Within weeks of suspending development assistance and threatening to withdraw U.S. troops from the NATO peacekeeping force, the government of reformist Prime Minister Albin Kurti was gone.
  • While Washington was busy pressuring Kosovo, Moscow and Beijing were doing the opposite in Serbia: providing critical pandemic support as the coronavirus began sweeping across the Balkans. 
  • Grenell’s vision is to create “momentum” from “economic normalization,” paving the way for a political settlement. Expanded trade with Kosovo—however desirable and laudable—is unlikely to ever become of decisive importance for Serbia.
  • The New York Times – Patrick Kingsley and Gerry Mullany / Kosovo President is indicted for war crimes for role in war with Serbia

Financial Times – Thomas Hale / China expands coal plant capacity to boost post-virus economy

  • China is approving plans for new coal power plant capacity at the fastest rate since 2015, in a sign that pressure to stimulate the economy is undermining a transition towards cleaner energy sources.
  • China is already the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and pollution levels there have quickly rebounded after lockdown. China’s energy policy will be crucial to determining the success of the Paris climate agreement.
  • China pledged to reach a peak of carbon emissions by 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement. In 2016, the government suspended construction of hundreds of coal plants. But many of the projects were restarted as economic growth slowed.
  • Concerns are growing that the world’s two largest polluters, China and the US, will both fail to curb their emissions with the Trump administration preparing to withdraw formally from the Paris pact in November.
  • Bloomberg – Will Mathis and Maciej Martewicz / Europe’s coal heartland is the hottest market for green power

The Guardian – Fiona Harvey / Road to net zero: what the Committee on Climate Change recommends

  • A national plan for insulating the UK’s draughty homes is needed. This would create thousands of new green jobs. Low-carbon heating must become the dominant form of new heating installation by the early 2030s.
  • The CCC says its research suggests the switch to electric cars could be managed by 2032. Oil prices stand at historic lows, making this a good time to raise fuel duty without hitting consumers. The net zero economy will require a net zero workforce.
  • Tree planting and restoring peatlands, wetlands and other natural carbon sinks could generate “shovel-ready” projects. Working from home vastly reduces transport emissions, so more employers should be encouraged to make the changes permanent.
  • New infrastructure is needed to help people continue to cycle and walk to work. Kickstarting research and innovation in low-carbon technologies will be vital. Housebuilders and homeowners also need to adapt the UK’s housing to hotter summers.
  • Euractiv – Sam Morgan / Largest electric plane in Europe takes to the skies over the UK

Today’s report:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

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